Leg 2, Day 94 – Lizanne

Laura Penhaul By

Following on from a lovely blog written by Lizanne yesterday, I thought I’d take this opportunity to write a few words of how Lizanne will be missed on Doris, what she has brought to the team and my side of the ‘bromance’!

Lizanne has had the toughest deal out of all of us and yet one of her biggest strengths is that she takes it in her stride and never complains. Having joined the team just 2 months prior to us leaving from the US, the only time we’d met was during the team recruitment stages back in May 2014. Lizanne’s dedication was evident then, having flown over from South Africa she got stuck in straight away, rowing Doris over to the Isles of Wight without having ever rowed before,sharing a cabin with me for the night to get a feel for the space, heading to Wales for the Breacons beasting weekend to get a sense of sleep deprivation and leadership. Lizanne easily fitted in socially with the group and it was because she’d just taken on a new business (Cape Town Osteopaths www.CTOsteo.co.za) that she could only commit to doing a single leg of the journey. This made LV our number 1 reserve if we needed it. Crazy how things work out, but a phonecall months after we’d met and thankfully Lizanne was just as enthusiastic to join the team as we were to have her.

Not only did Lizanne not get a chance to meet up with us again since the Breacons, but living in South Africa meant that she had to do everything remotely. We linked her to Alex our S&C coach who wrote her a programme from afar, to Keith our Sport Psych who set up many a Skype session and to GSK HPL to do pre-departure testing. Although there were many an email and phonecall to share as much information as possible before we got on the boat, there was minimal time we’d ever spent together and certainly no time was spent as the team that we’d become. Unlike Meg, who fortunately has had Izzy back to share her stories and guidance in her preparation, Lizanne bless her, was coming into the row fairly blind in what to expect. When meeting with Lizanne in Hawaii she slotted right in, as if we’d been a team of friends for years. She immediately got to work and in less than 24hrs of arriving she was elbow deep in clearing out our mess on the boat!

Since being out at sea for nearly 100 days, Lizanne has been nothing but a pillar of strength to us all. Never complaining (unless it’s about the washing up sponge!), always thoughtful and supportive. She’s confident in sharing her emotions which helped to integrate her immediately and bring us closer as a team. When she had to miss her best friend’s wedding and also when she received the news of her uncle passing away, she was open with how she felt but then moved on respectfully, not allowing negativity to linger. It’s been refreshing to talk ‘shop’ and get the mind working again within the world of medicine and therapy. As Lizanne is an Osteo and I’m a physio, we’ve spent hours sharing our patient/athlete stories, how we’d treat x/y/z, ideas about running a practice and future courses we could each do. I think it’s for this reason that we appear to be seen to have a ‘bromance’ as we have a number of shared interests. Only Lizanne shares my sense of humour. with Flight of the Concords – It’s Business time, or making up our own voice overs with the sea life we see. She also shares in the gobbledegook in the twilight hours, which restored the fact that I wasn’t completely loosing it, or at least I wasn’t loosing it alone! Lizanne is the only person I know that can still look glamorous after weeks of no shower, sleep fatigue, being hot and sweaty in the sun and being coated in sea salt. However there is just one thing I won’t miss about Lizanne and that’s her knees falling on top of me in the cabin! Lizanne is the only person I know who can fall asleep with her knees bent up, however it means that when the boat rocks, her knee will flop down often smacking into me. I then prop the knee back up without waking her and the process is repeated. I’ve been known to pull her legs out straight without her even waking up!

With just a few days left with our little South African, there is no doubt that she will be sorely missed, but not to distract from the fact that we are also looking forward to introducing Meg to Doris. I can’t wait for the day that we are all together as one team, with Izz, Lizanne and Meg, definitely a motivating thought to look forward to reaching the finish. 

We’ve got less than 100nm to go! We’re still battling the currents and wind but thankfully making progress towards Samoa. Without a doubt though, we can not thank you all enough for such amazing comments of support we’ve received off the back of Natalia’s recent blog. We are truly humbled and it has certainly given us a massive boost of motivation after reading your kind words. Thank you all.



  1. Jim Andrews says:

    Lovely words again, Laura. I think Lizanne has definitely earned her spurs, having put in a couple of extra shifts. I am very happy for you all as you approach your well earned break, I bet you can smell Samoa, you are so close. Enjoy your last few days together and treasure those many memories you have created. Stay safe. XX

  2. Lorraine says:

    Lovely blog Laura. I am sure you will miss Lizanne, she sounds like a wonderful person. Really true friendships in life are very few but I’m sure you have all made life long relationships with each other and will always remain close. May the last miles pass speedily and then you can all enjoy rest, food and recuperation – hopefully with some of your families. Good luck & God speed.

  3. Memories are a fabulous thing Laura, especially if you have someone to share them with……and you certainly will all have extraordinary memories of this row to share…..and more yet to come.

    Such A Momentous Occasion Adventurers to come soon in Samoa and we wish you all a great time on this wonderful island and even more memories to bank.

    Enjoy every moment of this fantastic achievement……….

  4. Simon TY says:

    Great tribute to Lizanne. You are far too discrete to say how small she is….but from pics had always assumed she was weeny small ( yes, I know it is all relative, to me). Anyhow, pocket rocket she seems to have been.

    Another aspect of being a stranger, and living in SA, she has far less at risk in a way. Lose her cool, shout at the rest of you along the lines of “I will never see any of you again, so who cares”. But none of that and ( I assume she heads back to SA) then she will be gone. I hope plans are made for a grand reunion in the UK, launch of the documentary, dance the night away with Kylie.

    Last few days we all hope for you before Steak And Mojitos, Oh Asleep.

  5. Hi Laura and girls. It is very difficult to imagine how you can possibly deal with all the weather setbacks, sleep deprivation, food shortages and general discomfort, not to mention lack of space and privacy. Your physical and mental preparation must have been first class. I think of you all often during the day but especially last thing at night, praying that you will stay safe and first thing in the morning when I read the next blog and know you are one day nearer. I saw the film ‘Suffragette’ this week and thought of you all. Different cause, hundred years apart but same dedication, determination and bravery. Girls rule! X

  6. JG says:

    As I have said before, I believe that this expedition succeeds because of the impeccable preparation for it and the selection of the Crew members. Faultless in all respects. The fact that you are surviving way beyond the planning estimate of time of arrival at Samoa, due to the unpredictable effects of El Nino, is proof of the effectiveness of all that preparation both in the UK and Hawaii. I salute you – again. Keep safe Samoa looms upon you.

  7. Barney says:

    She came into the boat as a stranger and she will leave loved by us all! Lizanne, we will miss you for sure.

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